Preparation Tips – Ready for the New Year?

PT Blog   •   January, 2018

A re you ready for it? Not just another catchy lyric to your favorite pop song, but are you ready for the end of your third year?  You have a resume to update, a boards examination to study for, and oh, don’t forget to order that cap and gown! I remember the stress the end of third year brought, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming where to begin trying to finish everything in time for graduation.  We’d like to help  you out and give you some tips on where to begin, what to look out for, and ultimately make it through graduation all in one piece!

  1. Sign up for the NPTE
    • If you are graduating in May you have two upcoming options on which boards examination to sit for: April 25 & July 24/25. For the examination sign-up the deadline is March 21 and June 19, respectively.
      • Also, if you plan on sitting for the NPTE prior to graduating, ensure you state will allow you to do so by checking out the information HERE. Some states will not allow you to sit for the examination until you have your graduation certificate in hand; however, other states will allow so as long as you have completed all didactic work. Ensure you know your state rules.
      • The sooner you sign up, the more likely it will be for you to obtain a seat at a testing site near you, so don’t delay!
  2. Purchase Study Materials
    • Have your study materials ready now. You will inevitably purchase these, so get them now. Waiting can cause you to pay increased costs for shipping and/or the product, since as you get closer to testing time some items may prove more difficult to find.
    • Some recommendations for study materials include:
      1. PT Qbank
      2. O’Sullivan Study Guide
      3. Score Builders Study Guide
      4. PEAT examinations (60 day Access)
  3. Update Your Resume
    • Having your resume ready before the rush of the end of term will ensure success as you begin to pursue your dream job. Go through all of your old emails/certificates to list applicable information on your resume including: list of degrees/graduation dates, clinical sites, research projects, and service leadership to name a few.
    • Once your resume is updated have a professor/mentor review this and make revisions as needed. Most universities offer a career center with employees who will review resumes as well, so take advantage of this! Hint: some even review what to wear to interviews, and etiquette dinners should your job take you out during your interview.
  4. Submit Job Applications
    • We all know the phrase, the early bird catches the worm! This could never prove more true than with job applications. It’s never too early to start looking at hiring sites, sending emails to future employers, or submitting your resume. The worst they can say is no; however, some companies are already looking to hire for the upcoming year and may save a spot for you. If you know where you will be headed go ahead and do your research and put out some feelers. You never know, you may find your dream job earlier than you expected, and this will be one less thing off of your plate as you study to pass the NPTE.
  5. Order Regalia
    • Most universities will send out information around March (depending on your specific graduation date). Don’t delay. If you plan on walking, which I encourage you to do so, then go ahead an order your regalia as you don’t want to incur a late fee. Again, taking care of this now will ensure one less thing to worry about as you prepare for the upcoming NPTE.
  6. Make a Study Plan
    • Most importantly, as this will ultimately determine your success in pursuing the above steps, make a study plan. Having a plan ahead of time will ensure:
      1. No cramming
      2. Review of all major systems
      3. An “appointment” time allotted each day for you to spend focused time studying for the NPTE
      4. Spaced repetition
      5. Will set you up for success on passing the NPTE
    • We recommend allotting 6-8 weeks of intense study time prior to taking the NPTE. However, for some taking this prior to graduation, a longer study window may be necessary due to clinical and course demands.
    • Take the PEAT examinations. These most simulate the actual NPTE and will allow you to simulate the real examination, so you will be prepared for the 5 hour testing time.
    • Take at least 4-5 practice examinations, typically 1x/week, that simulate how you will take the NPTE at a testing site. I.E: wear your headphones, take only 1 snack break, sit in an upright chair with no distractions.
    • Last but not least, some programs require you to take an exit exam prior to graduation. Ensure you have time devoted to studying prior to graduation to ensure success with this exam as well.

We hope these tips prove useful! Should you have any questions feel free to email, message us through Facebook, or tweet us. Best of luck on making it this far; we wish you a successful end of the year!

  • Sign up for the NPTE

  • Purchase Study Materials

  • Update Your Resume

  • Submit Job Applications

  • Order Regalia

  • Make a Study Plan

Photo Credit: Cole Keister

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About the Author:

Ashley Theobald, D.P.T. – Ashley was born and raised in a small town in Alabama. She attended the University of South Alabama and was an advanced undergraduate student completing her Bachelor of Science degree in pre-professional health sciences in 2012. She then graduated with her doctorate in physical therapy in 2014. During her first year of PT school she met and married her husband, Ben. They moved to Nashville, TN where she worked for 3 years in an outpatient clinic full time and at Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital PRN. She is now working for ATI Physical Therapy full-time in Greenville, SC. She has been an avid health and fitness fan playing softball growing up, tennis in high school, and completing 2 half-marathons in college. She enjoys traveling overseas and has completed 2 short-term medical mission trips for physical therapy in the Dominican Republic (2013) and Haiti (2015), with intentions of returning yearly.
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